Monday, February 09, 2009

"Cottage by the Bay", oil on canvas board, by Mike Rooney

Teaching Journal
Day 91, Monday, February 9, 2009

Every so often the student designated as the “teacher’s assistant” seems sleepy as he or she leads the class through the initial steps of the lesson. They sometimes speak softly, almost faintly, and there is often a wilting quality in their voices that seems sure to promote a wilting feeling in the other students. I even begin to feel, as I listen, like I, too, want to lean my head on my hand and sail off to daydream-land. The T.A.s do their best, and they usually pick up the pace as the class moves along, but it always starts me wondering whether I often have that kind of soporific, sleep-inducing effect on the students. After all, I always speak softly during class, and we almost never do what kids would call “exciting” activities during class. Mostly we sit at the round table, just talking and listening, which, I suppose, can be a wide-open doorway to absent-mindedness and reverie. My students seem attentive during my quiet, less-than-thrilling classes, but perhaps that’s a deceptive fa├žade. Perhaps, behind their focused eyes and erect posture, they are miles away, sailing on a wish and a star.

* * * *

One Teacher’s Idioms: “In the Heat of the Moment”

My ideal English class would be one in which the students and I feel “the heat of the moment” every single moment. After all, each moment is totally new, born right in our midst approximately 3,000 times in each class period (48 minutes). There has never been a moment exactly like those that arise in our presence in every English class. Each moment is as fresh as a newborn infant, as hot as baked bread spanking new from the oven. I wish my students and I could enjoy our moments together with as much delight as we would savor the first bite of a warm, steaming, sweet-smelling loaf.

No comments: